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Why does Education in America "suck"???

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posted on Jun, 28 2004 @ 09:29 PM
The school I went to was mandated by the state, and the state paid for all expenses, meals, medical, room, internet, and most of all education. Now that would probably take a lot of money to do for everyone, but it would be no different in quality if it were a commuter school.
So staggering education on the basis of student achievement IMO is a good solution, but at the same time there need to be other options such as free, private schools to diversify the education given. These free private schools can be given through community programs, churches, etc. And then you can allow these schools to decide on the standards they wish to give to children, but at the same time there is not cost to worry about for low-income families.

posted on Jun, 28 2004 @ 09:42 PM

Originally posted by FreeMason
But that's an interesting point you made, guess you Canadians aren't taught enough about America
... it's a land where in many places you can not just waltz into another school that's better

I believe being able to choose your school would create a competition that would force schools to better themselves, in fact it would be a good way without enforced testing and such, to ensure that teachers are doing their jobs. As if they are not competitive (teaching well) they will lose students and their school will lose funding, so the schools will only hire teachers that will bring in the most money so to speak. And that is teachers that will actually teach and not be lazy fat arses.

Yeah, well it's worse down there- the only Americans who can name the capital of Canada are the ones who've lived here. Worse yet, Americans can't name our politicians, cities, etc. while this American stuff is taught here. For being your next door neighboors, I could say that most Americans treat us with outright contempt.

As for canada, all our schools are depressingly the same. However, there appears to eb a crisis where there's a shortage of teachers and institutions because of various funding problems. However, local boards don't have much say in teh cirriculum. It's all province dictated here in Ontario. TA any rate, facilities are the only major difference here.

This idea of 'forcing schools to become better' is intriguing, but I figure it would end up being darwinistic- the few would flourish, and only the lucky really get to go to the best schools. Even then, they would be crowded. I was in a Catholic school (for teh education, not the sanctimony) and even then I was in classes of 28-34... in the University level courses. Gym classes could hit as many as double that number of students. Let me tell you, corwding is not fun.

Also, I think that Scat's point is quite valid. Teachign thsoe who refuse to be taught grinds on a person. A lot of students don't care, don't pay attention and generally disrespect the teachers. They complete assignments meticulously simply because they have no choice. I live in an affluent area, so I wouldn't know about how it is in rural places. But students here fell into three categories- the ones who were whipped by their parents to excel, had no life and were completely miserable wastes of skin; kids who simply didn't give a f*ck, and passed the time either blasted out fo their minds or sleeping; and the average student who didn't care about what they were taught and simply developed good short term memory. two of them jsut wanted to get to university and college because it was a natural step. The lazy ones didn't care, and now fuel/supply the booming drug scene that's foudn in many highschools. It was odd to find kids who weren't pot smokers, which was a little bizzare for me. But we ran the gamut none the less- hash, coke, heroin, speed and a gawdawful amount of pot circulated our school. In my mind, it boils down to two things- cirriculum, and students.

Nowadays, students suck, period. SO why would teachers work their asses off when they know that their lessons won't sink in and the kids simpyl sit on their thumbs all day?


posted on Jun, 28 2004 @ 10:05 PM
Students do suck, youre right. But the drug scene thing can get awfully sticky. Sometimes its associated with overachievement just as it is with underachievement.

posted on Jun, 28 2004 @ 10:20 PM
From what I've been reading here and other places...Leasve the FEDS out of Education. Let the local school boards and parents decide. If a parent doesn't like what is being taught in a local school, then give them a voucher to send their child to another school. The TEACHERS UNIONS are the most leftist people I know. I have a 6 year old niece, and am deathly afraid of what she will be taught in a PUBLIC SCHOOL. My sister is thinking of home schooling or private schooling, but the TEACHERS UNIONS are making that to cost expensive. I have a VERY smart little girl, who first of all taught herself to read, being exposed to a sort of brain washing. Fortuately I got out of PUBLIC SCHOOL before it got to bad, or more likely my parents taught me better to listen to those SOCIALISTS. Either way, The PARENTS should have the right to determine how their child is brought up. THE GOVT. HAS NO PLACE IN THIS. To overide a parents choice in this country, goes against everything this great country was founded upon. The LEFTISTS in this country can't get the laws passed they want, So they take to CORRUPTING OUR CHILDREN!!! I see a CIVIL WAR coming! Not to destroy this country, BUT TO RETURN IT TO IT'S ROOTS. And I m one who is gladly willing to fight this fight. IT'S TIME OUR CHILDREN KNOW THE TRUTH ABOUT THIS COUNTIES FOUNDING. THAT WE WOULD NOT STAND FOR TYRANNY! THAT PERSONAL LIBERTY IS THE UTMOST RIGHT BESTOWED UPON US BY GOD. AND THAT THIS IS A COUNTRY FOR THE PEOPLE, BY THE PEOPLE. NOT ONE SOME INEFFECTIVE FEDERAL GOVT, BELIEVES WE SHOULD LIVE!!!!!!!!!

posted on Jun, 28 2004 @ 10:53 PM
Don't blame the schools, blame the home life.

Look at what we let our children view and do.

It is the parents' responsibility to raise and educate their children.

posted on Jun, 28 2004 @ 11:59 PM
my little input-

the problems are multi-faceted and lie in all the areas mentioned. But the heart of it lies in the two things that have been killing the US for years; lack of personal responsibility (if a student can't keep up, they fail, and continue to fail and ruin their future, since its their choice) and capitalism. Schools want all the funding they can get, so they dont want to have students fail and make them look bad, and want to have as many students as possible to secure more funding. Make those who choose to spend their time on narcotics or otherwise not fulfilling their educational criteria fail, drop out, and be poor, starving wretches. They have earned it and deserve it. Dont hinder those who can achieve my handicapping them with human waste. Secondly, funding reform is needed. how is a tricky subject, as school boards will always try to manipulate it for maximum funding. THe only way to prevent this is to police it in some manner. But it can be done, if anyone cares to bother anymore. Not that most american citizens do. Most would rather send their child to school for babysitting more than education, so they can persue their careers, and more money.

posted on Jun, 29 2004 @ 03:20 AM
I taught, for many years, in a community college. I saw the results of the elementary, junior high, and high school systems. And, remember, I was seeing the "successes"..the ones who actually made it to college. My students' lack of reading ability, writing ability, and critical thinking skills was dismaying.
We were an "open admissions" school and all of those who didn't possess certain language and math schools could not progress without remediation. All in all, this was a good thing. But, even my BEST students had not been taught to write an essay.
So, who or what, is to blame? In Texas, I think part of the problem was the pressure to pass promotion; the desire to attract funding; and teachers (in some subjects) who weren't really conversant with their subject. I taught history and I saw a real corrolation between those who had been taught history by football coaches etc. and those who did not really grasp history. Professionalism shouldn't be confined to a college environment.
Then, there is the role of parents. In many homes, people were so busy working two jobs, that they just didn't have the time to help their children with their schoolwork and, let's face it, many of the parents weren't well-educated themselves.
I really hate to say this, but, there has been a downward trend in educational standards since I was a student in the early 60's. Standards have been lowered, parents are less interested or don't have the time, drugs are more prevalent in the lower grades, students often work as well as go to school...all in all, it's just too much.
I was a good teacher. But, I retired at 47. Why? There are many reasons...some of which were purely personal (a new marriage and the ability to stay at home rather than work)..but, some of the reaons were because I was tired, tired , tired. I was tired of endless committee meetings to debate trivialities when my time would have been better spent teaching. I was tired of having to watch every word I said for fear of being politically incorrect and incurring the wrath of the administration. I was tired of drugged out students. I was tired of seeing students hauled off to jail. I guess the final straw was when one of my students murdered his best friend. Suddenly, the halls of academia didn't feel so safe anymore.
I sometimes think that I should have stuck it out. ...That I copped out when I could have made a difference. But, as I said, I had my own personal issues to contend with.
I don't blame the teachers for the mess we are in. The blame lies in a myriad of issues in our society. The problems will not be remedied overnight.
I will always remember those few bright-eyed students who hungered for knowledge and those who were struggling to raise themselves to a better place in life. Those few made the hard work, the stress, and the hassle worthwhile.
I hope somenone can devise a method to restore education to the place where it once was.
I believe in education and I believe in the constant quest for knowledge.

[edit on 29-6-2004 by joey]

posted on Jun, 29 2004 @ 03:39 AM
The problem of which you all speak of is not just in the US but i now believe a world wide one mainly in the western countries. Australia is experiencing the same difficulties,but i made add only with Public schools not the rich private ones. It would be interesting to see what other places the rot as spread to.

posted on Jun, 29 2004 @ 04:01 AM
Looking at the big picture in terms of entire life cycles of a person, it doesn't take long to realize that the overall impact of a generation's education also impacts the employable value of the next generation's graduates. Then consider those that got a GED instead will have increased difficulty on the job market. That's well over half of the total population that will be the production gears of the job market. When one considers the boon of the Internet and the downward spike of the job market in conjunction with the overall state of education tends to paint a rather 'spiky' graph of progress. heh, I was kind of a statistical anomoly in that I was raised in a poor divorced family yet managed to do reasonably well in school, and manage to acquire a trade, rather than work a blue-coller job. go fig. I had attended public school from 1980 to graduating high school in 1995 in Oklahoma. So perhaps one can understand my cynical, yet comprehensive viewpoint. On the small scale it's a micromanagement issue, on the big scale it's a mechanical issue. just my 2

posted on Jun, 29 2004 @ 04:57 AM
the problem is mostly with the students i believe. its not the teachers or wasnt in my school. the generation we have now doesnt give a # about anything. i was one of these kids. whereas most kids didnt want to learn but were forced to either do the work or cheat i just flat out refused to do it. most of the kids today dont think about anyone but themselves.

my highschool was a joke. no one learned anything. probably more than 65% of the people in my class cheated their way through everything. the teachers didnt seem to care. just as long as they turned it in. thats whats wrong with our schools in general. its not about learning its about doing what your told.

let me recount a little story of my school days.

In about 5th grade is were my grades started going down. I finally realized that there was no point in making good grades anymore. Just as long as you passed somehow. In the 5th grade ironically I was placed in the honor's class. As time progressed I did less and less work till my Junior year in high school were it had gotten so bad that for the whole year I earned only 3.5 credits. To put that in perspective the amount you should earn for a year was 8. My Junior year is when I was kicked out of honors classes for not doing my work. So my Senior year starts and I'm doing the same #. Or should I say I'm not doing #. There is no way I'm going to graduate. Three months left of school I get sent to an alternative campus for trouble makers and people who are going to fail. It was pretty funny I thought but my parents were not so pleased. My mom was very upset with me not doing my work and hearing that I wasnt going to pass made her cry. So I promised her I would do the work in the alternative campus to catch up.

I had probably a full years worth of work to catch up on in 3 months. Needless to say I was screwed. But wait! The stuff they have us doing in here is a joke. Well actually its the same bull# from my regular high school without all the busy work. Here is how it was. Every class would have a series of Modules which I referred to as chapters. You finish all the Modules you finish the class. Well since I was pretty smart(relatively smart I guess, in comparason to my classmates I was a genious) I would just read the chapter and take the tests. I passed everyone of em easy while the rest of my classmates in the alternative campus cheated and also passed.

So they let me graduate with my class and I got a regular diploma just like everyone else from my high school but I did no work all through high school. What was the point of doing any work if I could do nothing and still pass? Yes the stuff they taught wasnt for the most part to challenging but even if it was why would I do it? All I need is the diploma I dont need to actually know anything. Anyway its not like you get a job because of whaty ou know. You get a job because of who you know.

[edit on 6-29-2004 by hmmm]

posted on Jun, 29 2004 @ 05:25 AM
Interesting in that we seem to be polar opposites in some ways hmmm. I hope it will give some of the folks here some insight, if anyone has any questions feel free to post or u2u me. One thing I did note that we have in common is that we are not typically relfective to statistics being emitted these days. Perhaps if others were to add a touch of their experiences in addition to their viewpoint perhaps readers and posters could get a clearer view of potiential scenarios. I would have to partially disagree(or partially agree) about the 'who you know' cliche. From my experiences it's actually efficient to have both going for you. the who you know part can become irrevelent if you move far from a place of familarity or reputation. Unfortunately or fortunately the proof of knowledge and ability are universal in regards to location.

posted on Jun, 29 2004 @ 02:49 PM
I went to a private religious school for K-7. It was a small school with doubled up classrooms, 3rd and 4th together with the same teacher, 5th and 6th together with the same, etc. It was strict and you'd better produce. We got instruction in German and had church every Wednesday morning. I did pretty well.

When I got to public school it was very different. I literally thought I'd ended up in the wrong class because on day 1 we were given a handout and each person in order had to read a paragraph aloud. As I listened to person after person struggle to fight their way through the material, I thought I must have been put into some kind of "slow" class, as I'd heard them called. These people could hardly read! My turn came and I zipped through it and they looked at me like I'd just done a magic trick. So I felt very weird, to say the least. Then I got to science class and couldn't make heads or tails of it because I'd never even seen the word "atom" before. I mispronounced it and caught a hard time for it.

I was way ahead in some arenas and woefully lacking in others. But the basics of reading and comprehension I'd gotten in private school were my saving points. I couldn't believe kids could just -leave- if they didn't want to go to class. The first time I saw a kid throw his book at a teacher and get nothing more than "sent to the office" for it, it blew my mind! We had corporal punishment at my little school and it only took a few times before you got it in your head that you either did as expected or ELSE.

I can honestly say that in my own experience, the teachers seemed to have to devote an awful lot of class time to discipline and threats. "Where's your homework? Why isn't it done? Stop talking. Put that away. Yes, here's a pass go to the bathroom. Turn to page 12. Why don't you have a book? Go get one from the school store, here's a pass." It was rediculous, the amount of time spent on this nonsense. And what I could never comprehend was that it was tolerated! My mom asked me what I thought and I said that if these kids were dropped in my old school, it'd be a free for all with my teachers on horseback rounding them up for whippins. *L* It's out of control and that's a lot of the problem, right there.

posted on Jun, 29 2004 @ 03:10 PM
A.) Education is not cultrually focused on our many socio-econmic needs.
B.) Morality and moral...where are they? Who hires your children's teachers and why?
C.) How can a kid learn when they're more focused on how many gold stars they have on the board? Competition leads to conflicts.
D.) There's not enough interactive learning among students themselves...when you learn something you intend to teach others you are less likely to forget it and you have the potential to impress your friends and create positive competition.
F.) I skipped E because it's not in our phony grading system that fluctuates wherever you go - I say we should switch over to the European number system.

posted on Jun, 29 2004 @ 03:15 PM
'Education' in America generally stinks because it is stuck pushing the Marxist agenda that the NEA subscribes to.

We HOMESCHOOL. We use the St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Homeschool program, accredited by the Southern Colleges. It's wonderful AND my child is 2 years ahead of her public school peers. Before anyone starts yelling 'socialization' - she has A LOT of GOOD socialization. Swim Team practice three times a week, CCD once a week, Art Club twice a week, Soccer in the fall and spring twice a week, as well as playing with her buds in the 'hood here and her other friends. We have tons of field trips with other home schoolers and we have lots of great family bonding.

posted on Jun, 29 2004 @ 05:32 PM

Originally posted by Scat
Students do suck, youre right. But the drug scene thing can get awfully sticky. Sometimes its associated with overachievement just as it is with underachievement.

I know. I foudn it actually fairly evenly spread out. Stupid kids did hash, overachievers used speed, and athletes used roids and occasionally coc aine. But that wasn't constant, though. None the less, schools are turning into drug holes.


posted on Jun, 30 2004 @ 01:10 AM

Originally posted by jrod
The problem I see is parents blaming the teachers for their childrens lack of attention and commitment to the stuff they need to learn. Angry parents get good teachers fired, its the ignorant parents that cant accept their children being the problem that really mess up the system. Education starts at home.

I agree with you 100%. Teachers and principals can't even discipline their students anymore due to parents' complaints (some of which are justified, but most of which are not). All they can do now is offer them rewards for doing what they were supposed to do in the first place, and hope that works...

People have to have a level of self-motivation and a desire to learn before they can be taught. It's impossible to teach someone who doesn't want to learn, no matter how hard you may try, or how young or old they may be...

Education is vitally important for a democratic society. Without an educated public, either the public will directly make bad choices, or elect people who make bad choices. Either way, when the general public is not well educated, we all lose.

What scares me is that it's to the advantage of government and businesses to have stupid consumers. If we're too stupid to understand important issues, the government and business sector are free to take any action they choose. Because no matter what they do, we won't be able to figure it out. If we're too stupid to understand how things work, businesses will be able to sell us products via emotional appeals in advertising rather than solid product design.

Ask yourself this: How can it be that BOTH Democrats and Republicans are adamantly pro-education, but yet year after year nothing gets fixed with our school systems?! We are stuck with schools where students are passed to higher grades, regardless of their performance, where grade inflation is rampant, where disruptive and even criminal children cannot be removed from the classroom, where a growing population of college freshmen need remedial courses on basic subjects, where Well, you get the idea.

We are stuck with a grossly inadequate educational system because those in power want it that way. And in a classic catch-22 situation, the general population is to stupid to even care about it!

[edit on 6/30/2004 by ThunderCloud]

posted on Jun, 30 2004 @ 02:21 PM
Just saw this...A community college teacher was fired for handing out too many Fs.


I dont see why people in summer should get away with doing less, said Orlati, 50. I cannot change the standards, even if the whole class is dropping on me. Then I am actually doing a disservice to the people who worked their butts off to get a C the semester before.

The reason the school gave is that her class was too hard. Her students were complaining about it so they fired the teacher. This is ridiculous, these students don't even seem to realize what it means to go to higher education in the first place. It's supposed to be a challenge!!!

posted on Jun, 30 2004 @ 03:09 PM
Jamuhn, you think that is bad? A 10th grade biology teacher got fired cause she failed a bunch of kids. Why did she fail them? She told the class to do a report on something or other. When the reports were turned in, guess what? About 10 kids turned in the SAME REPORT! She failed them on the report, and the report was thee grade for that class, like 35% of the class grade was that report so all of them failed. the parents whined and complained saying that 14-16 year olds didn't know it was wrong and got the teacher fired! Wow, at 15 years old, hell, at 8 years old I knew it was wrong to plagerise(may not know how to spell it but know it was wrong) and even worse, not just one or two, but over 10!(I think it was 14 in all, but got conflicting reports between 12-17) And worse yet the teacher was fired for doing her job.

Thankfully when I went to highschool, you copied someones work, you both failed. You were copying off of someones test, you both failed. Say you were taking a test, you the smart one in the class, aka the only one who doesn't do drugs, and you are just breezing through the test. A stoner dumbass looks over at your paper, you both fail. Now it wasn't good for the smart kid, but we were usually allowed to do extra credit work that made up for the test.
I wasn't a brown noser, hell, i annoyed my teachers, but I did my work, turned it in, and didn't do anything major. My english teacher is also the golf coach. I made fun of him all the time about how golf is not a sport and I wasn't gonna call some 70 year old a athlete. But I did my work, did well on tests, read whatver book we were suppose to read, and so he joked with me about it. My psychology teacher teaches ping pong while standing on a table, also known as tennis. I made fun of him for it and we argued. But it was good natured and all for I did the work, read the book and did the tests. But my english teacher main joke was the trans kids. I don't mean transexual, I mean transitional kids. The ones who had literally smoked and snorted themselves dumbassess. "If it wasn't for them 7/11 wouldn't have any employees." "If it wasn't for them labs wouldn't have anyone dumb enough to try out some new drug that may have the side effect of death."

Most of my teachers liked there job, and if you did the work and didn't act like a dumbass, they had no problems with you. But my American history teacher was fun! Again, I did work, others didn't. One kid from Arkansas, I named him Arkie, was a basketball player for the school. He was also very racist. But he would sleep during class. The teacher would call down to the bsketball coach, asked if he had been working his players really hard. After a littl bit he would walk over and drop a book right next to Arkie's head scaring the bigeejus(is that a word?) out of him. Or Arkie would talk during class and the teacher would make Arkie read out of the book for the rest of the class. "If you want to hear your own voice, do it while doing classwork." But one time Arkie was going on about how the basketball team had to play against a bunch of "'n-word' monkeys" and he didn't want to cause they might get there smell on him. The teacher wasn't to happy about it so he calls down to the basketball coach, and Arkie doesn't have to play the "'n-word' monkeys" cause he wasn't on the team anymore. Sure the teacher had taught for about 30 years so had taught when calling someone that was ok, but he didn't fear being in trouble for getting a kid off the basketball team for he had a little plan in case he was fired. It's called other job. Mr. Johnson taught not because he had to, but because he wanted to. He could have stayed home and made his thousands off of some phone thing he did. But no, he came and taught us kids, cause some of us want to learn and we need a teacher who won't take the bs from the stoner kids or the kids who think since they are an athlete they get special privledges.

But yes, some teachers hate their jobs for they thought it would be a great job and they'd get to do all kind of things. But in the real world they can't do what they want and not all the kids were going to love them. Teachers have a curriculum they have to follow. So instead of spending a week on polynomials, they only get two days. Instead of going over the civil war for a month, they get 4 days. Unless they get lucky and get a new class. My senoir year was the first year America at War was taught. The school board had not come up with a curriculum yet so Mr. K got to teach what he wanted. We spent 3 months on the Civil War. 2 months on WWII, and a month on Korea and Vietnam. Alot of kids were lost for earlier curriculums in history class usually goes as followed. 7 Year war, Revolution War, and a little of 1812. That was the first year I had ever heard of the Mexican American war being taught, the Civil War, Spainish American war, WWI, WWII, Korea, Vietnam. Luckily for me and Jumbo(another kid in the class, one grade lower) we knew about these wars already. But the rest had no idea for school had never taught them about these wars. Most had never known we had gone to war with Mexico or Spain.

But in other parts of the country, a teacher is scrwed. You have to teach this this and this how we tell you to teach it. If you vary from this course, we fire you. If you fail a kid, we fire you. If you discipline a student, we fire you. But my little part of the world was spared from this I guess. If a kid deserved to fail or to be punished, they were. I got inschool suspensions, out of school suspensions, detentions, so forth. I always deserved them so I never argued or tryed to weasel my way out of the punishment for I deserved them. But other kids punishment wasn't enough. To the stoners inschool or out of school suspensions were vacation from school. Especially OSS cause they got to sit at home and get stoned. We need physical punishment back. It would probably straighten most of the stoners out. Not all, but most.

Well, that's all, have a good day!


posted on Jun, 30 2004 @ 04:10 PM

Originally posted by James the Lesser
We need physical punishment back. It would probably straighten most of the stoners out. Not all, but most.

I agree completely.
With this completely free parenting we get much of those who think that instead of that them being part of society and responsiblefor its rules world and everyone else is responsible for them and that they are above it. (I wonder how these remind me of Bush)

I believe fully that what you told about history's teaching in your schools.
And I bet that it's same with geography!

posted on Jun, 30 2004 @ 04:54 PM
An American Public School v. The British Educational System:
One Yank's Opinions

I was one of the lucky ones, I suppose.

I was raised in Los Angeles and attended some rough and tumble forced-integrated Public Schools in the 1970s, but I managed to leave all of that behind at 16 to live in Britain and take advantage of their higher standard of education.

I graduated 2 years early from High School (no challenge in California) and since I was ahead of schedule (based on the American Gradutation Age) I got myself accepted at a British preparatory school in Bedfordshire (50 miles north of London) to prepare for my "A-levels" --- the so-called Advanced Level Examinations (two separate, 3-hour written essay-type examinations) as a necessary prerequisite for "matriculation" into a British university.

I am not sure if the A-Level system is still in force now, but this was back in the mid 1970s in England, and you needed at least 3 of these in order to matriculate at a University.

It was during my first year in England that I saw some major differences between the US Public School System and thesmaller, less centralized British Educational system.

The biggest difference I noticed right away was the emphasis the British place on punishingly severe written essay Examination papers (there were NO "multiple guess" tests to play with): Pass or Fail. Sink or Swim. You learn that lesson early over there.

A British student is examined a great deal during his early career at school and this continues through A-levels, and throughout the University years,---the net result was that there was a greater incentive (on the whole) for the student to REALLY know his subjects well.

The other major difference was the general standard of Education in England compared to the US was much more....."demanding".

Here is wisdom: Any student will rise ONLY to the level at which he is expected to rise. Full Stop.

Although I was considered "top of my class" in the Los Angeles Public School System, I had to struggle quite hard just to keep up with my British peers, something I had been warned about when I moved to England. To put it bluntly, they were much better-educated in the round than I was at the time, and they, well...let me know it.

I don't think many Americans know what the phrase "Academic Competition" is until they have to compete in a British Public School classroom.......I sure had to learn the hard way !

My fellow students were all my own physical-chronological age, but the classes, although much smaller, were far more advanced---I would say about 2-3 years ahead of me in most subjects (Maths, World History, English Literature, Latin, Physics, General Science and Biology etc.).

I cannot speak for the "comprehensive" schools in Britain (i.e. government funded and operated schools), which are clearly not up to the same standards and clearly not as "high powered" :

I can only describe my own experience within the British Public School (what the Americans call "Private School"..I had to learn "English" all over again when I got there, but that's a different subject altogether......).

Here are some differences I noticed: In American Public Schools, none of the "teachers" seemed to have their heart in what they were doing. Class size was still 45-50 back in the mid 1970s even in the advanced stream courses.

The Los Angeles Unified School System is still too large to be workable, and this applies still to most of the larger school "systems" in major cities in the US.

Municipal "Textbooks" were ill-designed, poorly written and many of the students (as well as the teachers themselves) seemed "unconnected" to the subject being taught, especially Maths, World History and English language proficiency.

The students AND teachers both acted as if they wanted simply to "get-through the System" so they could move on to something else. The High School had 5,000 students ----all of whom seemed to be always streaming down the hallways en masse, which made everything seem a little impersonal, and well loud and obnoxious.

In Britain, the teachers were clearly not being paid much for all the effort they put forward------yet their teaching skills (at least in my own experience) were far ahead of the American Public School teaching standard.

The British all seemed to take a more active, almost vehement interest in the subjects they were teaching and were able to get the class actively interested in debating certain class subjects (often very heated) and open discussions on a wider variety of thought.

This was quite a different experience from what I had endured for years within the overcrowded and highly dysfunctional Los Angeles Public School System.

Being the resident-Yank in all my courses meant they would always turn to me for an "American" perspective, which caused me to see many issues "in the round", e.g. the American War of Independence, which I was able to learn about "from both sides of the Atlantic".

No disruption in the classroom was ever tolerated at the prep school I attended, and most of the parents were very actively involved in their children's performance at school.

Drugs and school violence were virtually non existent.

It was interesting that the student's name was published in a long list in the local newspaper if you ever pulled off an A on an A-level Examination, which was something the families were always pushing for.

The typical American Public School System in the US since the 1960s seems to have had the effective result of "dumbing down" the average US student far below the educational standard levels seen elsewhere in Europe, the Middle East or Asia.

Here are my suggestions that could possibly reverse the trend:

l. Break up the larger, more-gargantuan Municipal School Systems (e.g. Los Angeles etc. ) into several dozen smaller systems, with individually tailored curricula for the local areas: ditto for class size (no more than 20 students per teacher, means....more class rooms and more teachers): this would remove the centralized bureaucracy and allow for more local control of the cirriculum and syllabus.

2. Raise the level of instruction by testing potential teachers more rigorously on BASICS before giving them their teaching credentials in the first place

3. Eliminate the "multiple guess-tests" syndrome and institute real tests that require real knowledge of facts and how to put them together coherently.

Switch to an ESSAY EXAMINATION MODEL (this would require a revamping of the system to handle the massive "reading" of papers that would have to be done, as opposed to having a teacher merely stick a punch card in a multiple-guess-machine to tabulate an "instant score" in 10 seconds)

4. Emphasize (American-) English language skills (e.g. especially reading and essay writing skills, and exposure to great literature) followed by an equal emphasis on maths-related skills. Make LATIN as well as a second modern foreign language a mandatory subject for at least 2 years.

5. Reinvigorate other "basics" like the Basic Sciences, World History and World Geography as well as 21st century must-haves" e.g. basic Computer Literacy. The trick here is to hire better-skilled, more enthusiastic teachers, even if it means bringing them in "from abroad" if we can't find the necessary talent at home.

6. De-emphasise all the fanatical stress in the US public schools on Sports

7. Build larger and more well-equipped libraries (read: Internet Computer Access) for each school, so students who are incented to learn, can make use of better tools at their disposal.

8. Get the local schools to compete academically against each other for awards and other incentives: publish the results of State Examinations in the newspapers.

9. Organize extended travel programs where a class might be able to spend a week abroad or in another state of the US, exposed to the "wider world".

Just some random ideas off the top of my's been a long day.

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